All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations.
~ Psalm 22:27-28
We printed an excerpt from Psalm 22 in the Daily Devotion today. I was tempted to print it as the main Scripture, but telling the story of Jesus' final moments from one of the Gospels is so important to celebrating Good Friday that it took precedence.
Psalm 22 is one of the most remarkable chapters in the Bible. It was a Psalm of David, which means that it was written 1000 years before the crucifixion. It is remarkable in the specifics, because of its uncanny prophecy of the details of the crucifixion. Psalms are not often directly prophetic, but Psalm 22 not only contains prophecy, but also, is more remarkably detailed than any of the so-called “prophetic” books.
I would urge anyone to read it, slowly and fully, as an appropriate lesson for Good Friday. For in addition to being a detailed prophecy, it is a general one.
Many psalms begin with a person who complains to God and then move through middle stanzas where the psalmist finds or realizes that his complaint comes from his own lack of understanding, and then ends by praising God. Psalm 22 is in this form.
But unlike other psalms of this form, Psalm 22 deals directly with the crucifixion of Christ. Although it seems to the mocking crowd around the cross that the insane and blasphemous poseur named Jesus of Nazareth has gotten what was coming to him — in the more poetic words of the psalm, “dogs have surrounded me” and “they gape at me with their mouths” — God will not forsake the righteous person who is set upon by the wicked, and did not forsake Christ on the cross. Rather, as the psalm shows in the second half, the purpose of the crucifixion will become apparent in the future, as people bow down to Christ and declare his righteousness to those who have not yet been born.
The Synoptic Gospels contain a moment, when Jesus is at the very point of death, where he quotes the first line of this psalm word for word. This cry is not, as some people will say, a cry of abandonment where “God” has turned his face away from “Christ”. (The notion is an absurd fantasy created, not from Scripture, but from the imaginations of men who forget that Christians are monotheists.) It is, rather, an answer to those who are mocking him; that his victory is assured.
Lord, let me always remember the absolute certainty of Your victory. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer